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Why is condom usage on the decline?

How worried should you be about sexual health these days?

using condoms

Here are a few things to know about a potential public health crisis:

1. A decline has occurred between 2011 and 2013

According to this article in Men’s Health:

Between 2002 and 2010, the percentage of teen guys who used a condom during their first sexual experience jumped from 71 percent to nearly 80 percent, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But from 2011 to 2013, that figure dropped to 78 percent.

No, that doesn’t sound like much. But the drop-off seems to be steepening, says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., a sexual health researcher at Indiana University.

One theory: Young guys misunderstand rubbers. “I see some of my own students coming in thinking condoms are only for birth control, which is crazy,” Herbenick says.

2. Members of both sexes put pressure on the other

According to this article in Thought Catalog:

It’s not just guys who are all, ‘it doesn’t feel the same’, ‘I don’t have an STD’, ‘You won’t get pregnant’. Women are also guilty of putting pressure on their partners to forgo the rubbers.

‘Pressure goes both ways,’ says Hussey, ‘I think women to some extent are led to believe that a man doesn’t want to use a condom. Therefore, the quicker they don’t use them with guys the quicker they’re satisfying him more.’

But there’s a difference between pleasing someone and getting someone attracted, and as Hussey points out, we tend to forget that. ‘Having a standard makes you that much more attractive.’

3. There might be a rich vs. poor divide

According to this article in NPR:

It may be that poor students have been repeatedly warned about the risks of sexually transmitted diseases or unintended pregnancies. It may be that they actually perceive a higher risk of sexually transmitted diseases in their communities. Previous work has shown that your perception of risk is shaped by the community in which you’re embedded. And it may be that people who come from poor communities actually come to college perceiving a higher risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

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About Luke Harold Luke Harold is a journalist who has written for publications including the Philadelphia Inquirer and Orange County Register.

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